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Vox Sentences: We have an effective Ebola vaccine!

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

An effective Ebola vaccine; Obama keeps Trump from reanimating a Bush-era program to track visa holders from Muslim countries; North Carolina fails to repeal HB2.

Note: Vox Sentences will be off Friday and Monday. We'll be back in your inboxes Tuesday, December 27. Happy holidays!


VACCINATED!

Health worker in hazmat suit Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
  • Researchers announced Thursday that they've identified an effective vaccine against Ebola, and it's currently in development for wider public use. [Vox / Julia Belluz]
  • The vaccine study, published in the Lancet, follows up on a promising 2015 preliminary study, and finds even better results: Among more than 5,800 of people vaccinated in a trial in Guinea and Sierra Leone, none were infected with the disease. [The Lancet / Røttingen et al.]
  • The vaccine could be a turning point in preventing another outbreak along the lines of the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which killed more than 10,000 people in 2014 alone. [Vox / Julia Belluz]
  • Development, of course, is only the first step. Global health organizations are still fighting to reach 100 percent vaccination rates for diseases that have had effective vaccines for years — with Africa among the most underserved regions. [World Health Organization]
  • In fact, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 set back existing vaccination efforts, by preventing public health workers from being able to go into Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone to vaccinate infants against endemic diseases. [World Health Organization]
  • Questions about the Ebola vaccine remain. For example, we don't yet know how long it's effective — which could be a problem for a disease that recurs occasionally. [The Lancet / Thomas Geisbert]
  • The same factors that made the 2014 Ebola outbreak so deadly are making infectious disease outbreaks around the world more common and virulent — and they make it imperative that vaccines grant immunity to as many people as possible, permanently. [Vox / Julia Belluz]

DISMANTLED!

Protesters Larry French/Getty Images for MoveOn.org
  • The Obama administration is officially moving to dismantle a Bush-era system that registered and tracked men in the US on visas from certain Muslim-majority countries — which Donald Trump's transition team was eyeing as a way to satisfy the president-elect's tossed-off campaign proposal of a "Muslim registry." [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, didn't identify any terrorists, but it did facilitate the deportation of hundreds of Muslim men for overstaying visas and other technicalities. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • The Obama administration effectively took NSEERS offline by crossing off all the countries whose visa holders were supposed to be tracked. But it left the basic regulations and infrastructure allowing the registry to exist to remain in place — which is why questions to consumer tech companies about whether they would help the Trump administration with a "Muslim registry" never made any sense. [The Intercept / Sam F. Biddle]
  • (After all, if the Trump administration needs tech support, it can always use Peter Thiel's firm Palantir — which is already helping the government track unauthorized immigrants.) [The Verge / Spencer Woodman]
  • The NSEERS program was much narrower than Trump's original proposal to ban all Muslim immigration to the US, or his once-floated idea to register all Muslim Americans. Trump hasn't mentioned either of these ideas in several months (even while he's put out more nuanced versions of plans to vet immigrants), but he hasn't officially cast them aside. [Washington Post / Aaron Blake]
  • Any new program will require the Trump administration to put out regulations — and to explain why the proposal wouldn't be discriminatory. Now the Trump administration won't be able to avoid that step by reanimating an existing program. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • This is the second time in two days that Obama has prepared for Trump by issuing a regulation that Trump can't easily undo: in this case, by submitting a rule that goes into effect Friday, rather than in the 60 days or more most regulations require. [Federal Register]

ADJOURNED!

North Carolina protesters Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images
  • North Carolina's chaotic special session came to a chaotic end Wednesday night, as legislators adjourned without repealing the state's anti-anti-discrimination law HB2. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Earlier in the week, it looked as if lawmakers had reached a deal: The Charlotte City Council repealed its anti-discrimination ordinance (which had inspired HB2, and which HB2 had then nullified), in exchange for the repeal of HB2 itself. [BuzzFeed News / Dominic Holden]
  • This has led some to argue that Charlotte, and Democrats, got played. In reality, since the Charlotte law was inactive under HB2 anyway, they just took a chance that didn't pan out. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • But the fact that Republicans were even willing to consider repeal indicates that they've realized that the law, which helped keep Gov. Pat McCrory from getting reelected in November, is a problem for the state. [NYT / Richard Fausset and Alan Blinder]
  • They have now hit the point of blaming everyone else for the debacle instead. [Slate / Mark Joseph Stern]
  • Republicans shouldn't feel the special session was a waste, however. They did dramatically reduce the power of incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, and give themselves control of the board of elections in every election year. So, you know, there's that. [Vox / Tara Golshan]

Miscellaneous


Verbatim

  • "Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state." [Washington Post / Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty]
  • "Super Mario Run relegates its female characters to positions of near helplessness. Peach and Toadette become playable only after you complete certain tasks, which makes the women in the game feel like prizes." [NYT / Chris Suellentrop]
  • "Men are allowed to go from subject to subject, do sci-fi, period pieces, be slapstick and humorous, be music nerds getting lost in sculpting soundscapes, but not women. If we don't cut our chest open and bleed about the men and children in our lives, we are cheating our audience." [Björk]
  • "The back of his business cards are written in Italian, with the phrase 'dottore molto famoso,' or 'very famous doctor,' below his name. (For 10 years, he took private Italian lessons from women he found through Craigslist postings, paying them about $60 an hour for weekly sessions, he said.)" [STAT / Ike Swetlitz]
  • "They said the bribes paid to the former manager, Navnoor Kang, included a $17,000 Panerai watch, expenses associated with a ski trip to Utah, and other travel, as well as dinners at New York restaurants and tickets to the United States Open tennis tournament and Broadway shows. Crack cocaine and cash were also included." [NYT / Benjamin Weiser]

Watch this: Why cities should plant more trees

More than 3 million people die annually from air pollution. Planting trees can help lower that number. [YouTube / Brad Plumer and Mac Schneider]

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